self-defense fact

self-defense factIt’s a universal self-defense fact that if something works in violence, it works because of injury. (Or capitulation, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)

What happens if someone gets hit by a truck? Well, more often than not, they get killed. The faster the truck is going, the more likely that outcome. The question is, why?

The truck has lots of kinetic energy. It has the structure to transfer that energy and the momentum to push it all the way through. When this wallop exceeds the elasticity ratings of the tissues involved, we get a flying skin-bag of broken bones and soup.

What if you put a gun to somebody’s head and pull the trigger? Well, it’s the same story on a smaller scale: The bullet has the kinetic energy and structure necessary to destroy human tissue. In this case, the skull and brain, which can very easily result in death.

How about swinging an axe handle to the head as hard as you can? Same deal.

If we take the axe handle out of the equation, we lose some of the things that make all three of these injury examples obvious:

1) Supplied, “free” structure (steel frame of the truck, hard pointy-metal bullet, solid oak)

2) Supplied, “free” acceleration (gasoline, gunpowder, leverage)

(In the case of the axe handle, the “free” acceleration comes from the axe handle acting as a lever with small rotation at the grippy end being amplified into big rotation at the business end, upping the kinetic energy.)

So what does this mean for “empty-hand” violence?

It means that if we pay attention to structure (by consciously supplying it), and throw our entire mass at the man (to up our kinetic energy) and get both of these to the point where they can exceed the rated elasticity of soft tissue, it’s a self-defense fact that we can do the same thing a truck, bullet or axe handle does with our bare hands: cause injury.

The last little thing we need to concentrate on is targeting. While the truck, the bullet and the axe handle will wreck whatever it hits (flesh and bone alike), we won’t. So we need a vulnerable target, like the throat, to make our efforts count.

Another reason these three examples are obvious to people is because they understand, unconsciously, that trucks, bullets and axe handles treat everyone the same — with utter asocial dispassion.

But somehow, folks believe that if you ignore the self-defense fact and take any of those tools away, a magical transmogrification occurs — because it’s down to just you and me, the physical and physiological rules that govern the above interactions are null and void. The magnitude is gone (trucks hit a LOT harder and bullets go much, much faster than you can) but the basic rules are still in play. If I stomp on your neck as hard as I can, you die.

If we take the three examples (trucks, bullets and axe handles), the physical laws of the universe don’t care who is running them — an untrained person, a martial artist, a combat sports athlete or someone trained through TFT. It’s going to suck getting hit by the truck, or shot, or whacked no matter whom is doing it.

The same goes for “empty-hand.” It doesn’t matter who gets it right, if it’s got penetration and rotation through a target, it’s going to end in injury. (There is no patent on the knuckle sandwich.)

Whether it was the untrained guy “getting lucky” and hitting a target, or the martial artist chucking the self-defense angle and just wading in or the combat sports athlete disregarding the rules of competition. Anyone who does anything that works gets it done because of penetration, rotation and most importantly, injury.

(Or capitulation, as I said above. In antisocial situations, people sometimes quit when confronted with violence, whether it’s being done to them or just threatened. Expecting or hoping people will quit is a crapshoot, not something you want to bet your life on.)

So what’s my point? My point is that there is no beef between TFT and martial artists/combat sports athletes. All training, all styles, all approaches have the potential to work in violence – That’s a self-defense fact.

But when they do work, they work because of the base principles we outline for you every time you train with us. With TFT, we get rid of the “potential” and go for the concrete. We get you focused on doing the work of a bullet with your bare hands.

And that’s making injury a reality, then reverse-engineering everything backward from there.


Tim Larkin

Self-Protection Expert & Founder of Target Focus Training
Author of When Violence Is The Answer

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